Integrative Life Sciences :
Cellular Network


Developmental Dynamics

Developmental Dynamics

Genetic regulation of cellular behaviors during animal development

During animal development, cells divide, change their shapes, and migrate to form a complex body structure. To study these dynamic cellular behaviors, we use the nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans as a model system. Using gene manipulation and live imaging techniques, we aim to understand how cellular dynamics are regulated genetically and molecularly. We currently focus on multiple microtubule functions, and analyze their temporal and spatial regulation during cell division and morphogenesis of sensory neurons. Another topic of interest is how the shape and size of cells that comprise specific organs (e.g., gonads and intestine) are regulated coordinately during development. Finally, to understand how changes of the genome sequence lead to evolution of cellular dynamics, we aim to establish a new research field called “evolutionary cell biology”, using C. elegans and other closely related nematodes.

Research Overview

We are studying dynamic cell behaviors during embryogenesis, using the nematode C. elegans as a model system. By extensively using live microscopy and gene manipulation, we currently focus on the following three topics. 1) Spindle formation in mitosis and meiosis: When a cell divides, microtubules organize spindles that play central roles in chromosome segregation. While mitotic spindle microtubules are formed from centrosomes, female meiotic spindles are assembled independently from centrosomes. We are analyzing how these two distinct types of spindles are formed. 2) Assembly of germ granules: Germ granules are RNA and protein complexes (RNP complexes) specifically present in germline cells, that are implicated in germline-specific regulation of gene expression. We are analyzing how germ granules are assembled and segregated specifically into germ cells. 3) Cell shape change during morphogenesis: During morphogenesis, cells change their shape dynamically. We are investigating how this process is temporally and spatially regulated, with a focus on actin and microtubule cytoskeletons.

URLs http://www.lifesci.tohoku.ac.jp/sugimoto_lab/index.html

Faculty Members

Professor SUGIMOTO Asako
  • Spatiotemporal control of microtubule behaviors during mitosis and meiosis
  • Assembly and segregation of germ granules
  • Cell shape change during morphogenesis
  • New techniques for analyzing cellular dynamics
Associate Professor NIWA Shinsuke (C)
Assistant Professor HARUTA Nami